The Internal Revenue Service could continue targeting organizations and individuals based on political views because of severe flaws in the auditing selection process, according to investigators at the Government Accountability Office.
“The control deficiencies increase the risk of selecting organizations for audit in an unfair manner — for example, based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views,” said one of two GAO investigations of the IRS released Wednesday.
One of the GAO reports focused on problems in the IRS Wage and Investment Unit, the other on the Small Business and Self-Employed Unit.
The House Ways and Means Committee asked the GAO to conduct both investigations in response to the IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups. The Justice Department opted against prosecuting any IRS officials, even as former IRS employee Lois Lerner was found in contempt of Congress.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have called for the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for failing to provide documents to the committee.
“In December, Congress passed into law regulations to ensure that the IRS can no longer target American taxpayers for their political beliefs,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “GAO has now exposed serious weaknesses in the IRS’s auditing process and confirmed that Americans remain at risk of political targeting. Ways and Means members will hold the IRS accountable for quickly implementing GAO’s recommendations and finally treating all American taxpayers fairly.”
The GAO report on the IRS Wage and Investment Unit found that the division did not always document how cases were selected for audits and did not provide support for changes in procedures.
The second investigation found the IRS Small Business/Self Employed Unit did not have consistent procedures for auditing selection.
“SB/SE has control procedures for safeguarding data and segregating duties across the overall selection process, among others, but it has not implemented other key internal controls,” the GAO report said. “The lack of strong control procedures increases the risk that the audit program’s mission of fair and equitable application of the tax laws will not be achieved.”